A lengthy conversation about city finances during last week’s Northfield council work session revealed a few interesting tidbits as follows:
• One of its financial advisers last week pronounced the city in a “very good position in regard to debt.”
About two thirds of its $28.7 million debt is supported by the city’s sewer and water funds, which are composed of user fees, said Mark Ruff with Ehlers and Associates, discussing a city deb study. About $2 million will be repaid by Tax Increment Financing and another $3 million — for the outdoor pool and Northfield Community Resource Center — is supported by property taxes.
That equals about $1,757 per resident.
• Though Standard & Poor’s last year affirmed the city’s AA bond rating, Ruff recommended city officials invite ratings firms to town before issuing construction bonds for a new Safety Center.
A public hearing on the bond issue is expected June 5.
• While the council has been cutting costs as of late, making up for reductions in property taxes and state aid payments, on Tuesday it agreed to let some of those cuts take affect before doing more slashing.
City Administrator Tim Madigan suggested more circumspection now that state aid payments appear to have stabilized.
In 2009, the council agreed to work toward “maintaining and improving city operations without state support.” And while Northfield reduced its dependence on state aid by 50 percent, city leaders have expressed concerns about the consequences of additional reductions.
“I’m comfortable with the pause we’re taking now to see how some of the things we’ve put in place (work),” said Councilor Erica Zweifel.
Council members said they want to continue to look at potential efficiencies as opportunities present themselves.
“To keep indiscriminately cutting is not the way to move toward our goal,” said Zweifel.
-Reach Suzanne Rook at 645-1113. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy.